Working visit to Haiti
At the request of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, along with her husband, His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond, will travel to the Republic of Haiti for a working visit, from January 15 to 18, 2009.
Solidarity with Haiti
This visit will allow me to see firsthand the progress that has been made and the introduction of several humanitarian aid projects in the disaster areas of Les Cayes and Ennery, near Gonaïves, and thus highlight the efforts being made by the Government of Canada. It will also focus on the development strategies created to reduce poverty and strengthen the democratization of institutions. < read the blog >
Official welcome by the President of the Republic of Haiti
Their Excellencies will be welcomed by His Excellency René Préval, President of the Republic of Haiti, upon their arrival in the country.
Aéroport international Toussaint Louverture, Port-au-Prince
Working dinner with representatives from the international community in Haiti
Their Excellencies will take part in a working dinner with ambassadors from many countries and representatives from international organizations that are important to Canada in Haiti.
Mozaïk Restaurant, Pétion-Ville
Friday, January 16
Official welcome to Les Cayes
Their Excellencies will be greeted upon their arrival by Yvon Chéry, Mayor of Les Cayes, and other distinguished guests.
Aéroport Antoine Simon, Les Cayes
Visit to and discussion at the Centre d’opération d’urgence, Les Cayes
Accompanied by government authorities and representatives from civil society, the Governor General and His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond will visit this emergency operations centre, which is supported by the Canadian International Development Agency and was created to help reduce the vulnerability of Haiti’s population to natural disasters like floods, landslides and cyclones.
Visit to the Institute Brenda Strafford, Les Cayes
Accompanied by its administrators, Their Excellencies will visit the Institute Brenda Stafford and have discussions with staff and patients. Opened officially on March 24, 1984, in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Agency and previously run by the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis, this institute is now run by two Canadians. The Foundation has funded a number of health training projects for doctors and nurses in Haiti.
Visit to a rice-growing project run by the Coordination des Associations pour le Développement Intégral de la Première Section des Cayes (CADIPS)
Their Excellencies will travel to Madame Combe to visit a rice-growing project run by CADIPS, which was created in 1998 in a rural region of Les Cayes and brings together 30 small groups of agricultural producers. Subsidized a number of times by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), the purpose of this project is to improve the producers’ living conditions through a community development program. For example, the construction of a large irrigation system made up of several canals spread out over the plains of Les Cayes increased rice production.
CADIPS project in Madame Combe
Opening of a police station in the southern region
Their Excellencies will attend the opening of the police station in the southern region, a Global Peace and Security Fund project (Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade) to restore police stations in the southern region in order to strengthen the Haitian National Police. Through this project, 21 police stations were equipped and 14 were restored, including the police station at Torbeck, with the United Nations Development Programme.
Haitian National Police Station at Torbeck, Les Cayes
Community lunch with local authorities, representatives from civil society and the Canadian community
Their Excellencies will meet with various stakeholders from Les Cayes and the southern region, including local authorities, representatives from civil society, development partners and representatives from the Canadian community at a community lunch.
Hôtel Le Manguier, Les Cayes
Honorary reception hosted by Canada’s ambassador to Haiti
His Excellency Gilles Rivard, Canada’s ambassador to Haiti, will host a reception in honour of Their Excellencies’ visit to the country. During the evening, Their Excellencies will speak to representatives from the government of Haiti, members of parliament, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives from civil society and the cultural community about the aid offered by the Government of Canada to help the Haitian population.
Official residence, Port-au-Prince
Saturday, January 17
Meeting with the Brazilian non-governmental organization Viva Rio, leaders from the Bel Air community and the population
Their Excellencies will discuss human development, health, youth, and access to water with representatives from the Brazilian non-governmental organization Viva Rio, including its executive director, Rubem César Fernandes, and leaders from the Bel Air community. The purpose of the Viva Rio project is to implement a series of activities focused on quickly improving the quality of life and security in the Bel Air neighbourhood. The discussion will be followed by a visit to Bel Air, where Their Excellencies will see a water intake point built by Viva Rio and visit a voodoo flag craft workshop funded by the Local Fund Management Centre.
Hôtel Oloffson and Bel Air neighbourhood, Port-au-Prince
Official lunch with the Prime Minister of Haiti and members of her cabinet
Their Excellencies will attend an official lunch hosted by Michèle Pierre-Louis, Prime Minister of Haiti, and members of her cabinet.
Hôtel Montana, Port-au-Prince
Sunday, January 18
Official welcome to Ennery
Upon their arrival, Their Excellencies will be welcomed by Vic Thomas Wishmick, Mayor of Ennery, who will give them the keys to the city. Their Excellencies will then donate 200 trees to the city of Ennery, in symbolic support of the efforts to rebuild the country’s environment and the protection of the Haitian people.
Ennery soccer field
Visit to the Ennery bridge
Accompanied by the Mayor of Ennery, Their Excellencies will visit the Ennery bridge, which collapsed during the last cyclone season.
Meeting with the beneficiaries of the Appui aux populations sinistrées project
Their Excellencies will speak with the leaders and beneficiaries of this project to support devastated populations in upper Artibonite, one component of which is the distribution of bean and banana seeds. The project is implemented by a Haitian non-governmental organization, Promotion d’un Développement Autonome (PRODEVA), and funded by the Canadian International Development Agency. During this meeting, the director of PROVEDA will ask Their Excellencies to deliver cows to five women who are benefiting from the project.
Laying of flowers at the Toussaint Louverture monument in memory of hurricane victims
Their Excellencies will lay flowers at the foot of the statue in honour of all those who died in the 2008 hurricanes.
Statue of Toussaint Louverture, Ennery
Visit to the Espoir d’enfants orphanage, Port-au-Prince
During their visit to the Espoir d’enfants orphanage, Their Excellencies will award a certificate of appreciation to Canadian Jacqueline Lessard, an 82-year-old great-grandmother who has worked there since it opened. The orphanage was founded in February 2002 through the initiative of a committee of people who wanted to help orphans. The orphanage currently houses 55 children. The orphanage’s funding comes mainly from Canadian donors.
Haiti in crisis
Intense and deeply moving. During our brief visit to the country, to the south, the north and the capital city, we saw for ourselves the magnitude of the disaster brought on by four cyclones that pounded the island and the region last October: the human losses; infrastructures completely destroyed; environmental damage; crops wiped out; an existing food crisis made worse. But during this same visit, as we met with many of the island’s people, we also saw the courage with which the Haitian women and men are trying to get back on their feet in the wake of a very trying year. The collective efforts in small, rural communities to clean up, to clear away the wreckage, to replant and to rebuild deserve our admiration. < read the blog >